An Archaeological History of Oppression in Arkansas

  • 3000 BCE

    Mound construction begins in the Woodland Period

  • 1200 BCE

    Cultivation of domesticated lamb quarters, squash/gourds, marsh elder, sunflowers, and maygrass

  • 1000 BCE

    Intense cultivation of native food crops such as chenopodium, sunflowers, and gourds was widespread

  • Period: 1000 BCE to 1000

    Woodland Period

  • Period: 600 BCE to 200 BCE

    Woodland vessel exteriors now contain designs

  • Period: 200 BCE to 300

    Construction of small conical burial mounds noted

  • 700

    Bow and arrow, and other major technological advances, appear

  • Period: 750 to 850

    Existence of Toltec Mounds in Arkansas

    Deposits of maize near the mounds was dated to around AD 750-850
  • Period: 800 to

    Mississippian Period

    The Mississippian people during this time period farmed maize often, lived in chiefdoms, traded copper, marine shell, and other valuables, resided in towns, villages, and farmsteads, built flat topped mounds, participated in warfare, built stockades, and shared religion and iconographic traditions
  • 900

    Maize becomes widely cultivated

  • Jun 18, 1541

    Hernando De Soto enters Arkansas

    Hernando De Soto enters Arkansas
    Explored through Arkansas for two years with a large number of captive native Americans, like Pacaha and Casqui; killed numerous natives, gorged themselves on native food stores, and disrupted the region’s political systems—weakening some and supporting others, though the former was much more common
  • Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet arrive in Arkansas

    Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet arrive in Arkansas
    Led a French expedition that was much smaller than de Soto’s. It was the first step to extend French influence into the middle of the continent in order to convert the native peoples and set up a French-Indian trade network. encountered the Quapaw, whom they called the Arkansas
  • La Salle's Expedition

    La Salle's Expedition
    On this expedition were twenty-three Frenchmen and thirty-one Native Americans from tribes such as: Mohegan, Abenaki, Sokoki, and Lous, Abenaki, Huron, Nipissing, and Ojibwa.
    The La Salle expedition then was less an expansion of the French empire and more of an extension of a vast French-Indian trade and military alliance. There they were treated to a feast and ceremony in which La Salle and Quapaw leaders smoked the calumet pipe.
  • La Salle is killed by neighboring Native Americans

    La Salle is killed by neighboring Native Americans
    La Salle was assassinated and many colonists were killed by neighboring Indians or captured by the Spanish.
  • Arkansas Post established

    Arkansas Post established
    Arkansas Post established by Henri de Tonti, to serve as a way-station between Illinois and La Salle’s proposed colony in the lower Mississippi River Valley. Tonti left six men at Arkansas Post to watch for La Salle’s return from his expedition of colonization. Tonti also wanted to begin trade with the Quapaw, who he assumed would be his principal hunters. Arkansas Post was the only European settlement west of the Mississippi at the time.
  • Arkansas Post Abandoned

  • Missionaries encounter Quapaw, smallpox epidemic hits

    Missionaries encounter Quapaw, smallpox epidemic hits
    several missionaries from the Recollect order, a French branch of the Franciscans, descended the Mississippi River in the aftermath of one of the worst smallpox epidemics to hit the Mississippi River Valley and the southeast. None of these missionaries stayed for more than a few days in the Quapaw villages. Their destination was the lower Mississippi River, but they promised the Quapaw that missionaries would be sent to them.
  • Father Nicolas Foucault arrives to convert the Quapaw

    Father Nicolas Foucault arrives to convert the Quapaw
    He found, however, that the Quapaw resisted his attempts to convert them. He did not remain long and soon after his departure, he was killed by a party of Koroa, who lived downstream and were enemies of the Quapaw. In retaliation, the Quapaw attacked the Koroa and nearly wiped them out.
  • Blend of French and Quapaw culture

    Blend of French and Quapaw culture
    The French had learned of the abundance of bears in Arkansas and the value of bear oil, which was used for cooking, as a protection against mosquitoes, or (when applied to the body) as a cure for rheumatism. The French and the Quapaw hunted and traded for bear oil, tallow, buffalo meat, and skins and shipped them to New Orleans. The complementary economy of the two peoples in Arkansas was the beginning of a middle ground, a mixing of culture between French and Indians.
  • La Harpe explores Arkansas

    La Harpe explores Arkansas
  • Arkansas Post re-established again as John Law and his "The Company of the West" acquire control of Louisiana

    Arkansas Post re-established again as John Law and his "The Company of the West" acquire control of Louisiana
    Engages (or indentured servants who were contracted to serve for a set period) established the concession and were joined a month later by a small detachment of French soldiers. In the early 1720s, forty-seven inhabitants resided there.
  • Black slaves begin to appear in censuses

    Black slaves begin to appear in censuses
    This first census showed forty-seven colonists including six black slaves and an unknown number of children. Black slaves, as well as free blacks, continued to appear in subsequent censuses for Arkansas carried out during the French and Spanish colonial eras; one of the last such censuses, conducted in 1798, listed 393 colonists including fifty-six slaves.
  • Father Paul du Poisson makes a second attempt to convert the Quapaw

    Father Paul du Poisson makes a second attempt to convert the Quapaw
    Father Paul du Poisson made the second attempt to convert the Quapaw. The Quapaw perceived him as a man of great power and referred to him as Panianga sa, the Black Chief, most likely because of the black attire worn by Jesuits. The esteem in which du Poisson was held had important implications for French-Quapaw relations. His prestige, and not just trade and material concerns, became a factor in the developing alliance between the Quapaw and the French.
  • Alliance between Quapaw and colonials, and war

    Alliance between Quapaw and colonials, and war
    Du Poisson’s death at the beginning of the Natchez War in 1729 helped prompt the military alliance between the Quapaw and colonial Louisiana. Du Poisson had been there when the Natchez launched their initial attack, and he was one of their first victims. In 1729, the Quapaw joined the French counterattack against the Natchez and their allies. Du Poisson’s death provided the Quapaw with their own reasons for going to war against the Natchez.The French defeated the Natchez.
  • Arkansas Post re-established

    By the time Father du Poisson arrived in Arkansas, Arkansas Post had been re-established near the location of Tonti’s post.
  • Period: to

    French and Indian War

  • Father Pierre Gibault forms a mission for the New Madrid Parish

    Father Pierre Gibault forms a mission for the New Madrid Parish
    He stayed only a year and his successor stayed for less than that
  • St. Stephen Parish is founded at Arkansas Post

    St. Stephen Parish is founded at Arkansas Post
    St. Stephen Parish was founded, the first canonical parish at Arkansas Post, with Father Pierre Janin as priest. It lasted for only three years; when Janin was transferred to St. Louis, the parish closed.
  • Slaves at Arkansas Post

    Slaves at Arkansas Post
    There were fifty-six slaves at Arkansas Post, some of whom worked in the farm fields. By the late eighteenth century, most Arkansas Post farmers owned a few slaves for field work. Slaves, as well as free blacks and "mulattoes", also worked as domestics, artisans, and workers in the fur and skin trade—dressing and packing hides and loading carts and boats.
  • Treaty for the Louisiana Purchase

    Treaty for the Louisiana Purchase
    France and the United States signed the treaty for the Louisiana Purchase. Arkansas once again peacefully changed governments and was now a part of the young republic.
  • Increase in population, increase in slaves

    Increase in population, increase in slaves
    Arkansas’s population had risen to 14,255, including 1,617 slaves and fifty-nine free blacks. As a percentage of the total population, however, the black population had declined slightly from the earlier colonial period, to twelve percent of the total. One explanation for the lack of increase in the black population was the hesitancy of slave owners to move to Arkansas until its future status as a slaveholding area was resolved.
  • Missouri Compromise of 1820

    Missouri Compromise of 1820
    Made it clear, however, that Arkansas’s fate was linked to that of the slaveholding South, both the general population and the black population of Arkansas grew quickly.
  • Slave patrols and slave laws

    Slave patrols and slave laws
    Arkansas instituted a system of slave patrols to prevent slaves from wandering from their plantations without a pass, and the same impulse that lay behind this measure also led the General Assembly to adopt a law in 1842, prohibiting the immigration of any additional free blacks into the state after March 1, 1843.
  • Indian Removal Act

    Indian Removal Act
    During the decade after passage of the federal Indian Removal Act in 1830, an estimated 60,000 Indians, African slaves, white spouses, and Christian missionaries traveled through Arkansas. The estimate includes 21,000 Creek (whose descendents prefer to be called Muscogee), 16,000 Cherokee, 12,500 Choctaw, 6,000 Chickasaw, 4,200 Florida Indians now collectively identified as Seminole, and an unknown number of emigrants from various smaller tribes.
  • Period: to

    Trail of Tears

  • Arkansas has enough inhabitants to qualify for statehood

    Arkansas has enough inhabitants to qualify for statehood
  • Arkansas becomes a state

    Arkansas becomes a state
  • Prohibiting Immigration of free blacks

    Prohibiting Immigration of free blacks
    The General Assembly to adopt a law in 1842, prohibiting the immigration of any additional free blacks into the state after March 1, 1843
  • Period: to

    Mounting tensions lead to the expulsion of African Americans

    Mounting sectional tensions during the 1850s led finally to enactment of a measure in 1859 expelling all free blacks over the age of twenty-one from Arkansas; any remaining after January 1, 1860, would be subject to enslavement.
  • Arkansas slave increase

    Arkansas slave increase
    The population of Arkansas had leapt to 435,450, of whom 111,115 were slaves and 144 were free blacks.
  • Disparity in the lives of slaves

    Disparity in the lives of slaves
    12,131 slaves belonged to families owning from 1 to 4 slaves, while about 48,000 belonged to owners with 5 to 24 slaves. For slaves on small or medium-sized farms, the work and material possessions may not have differed radically from their owners. But for 51,000 slaves working on the large estates owned by the 9% percent of Arkansas slaveholders who possessed from 25 to over 500 slaves, there less direct contact with their owners, and the disparity in living conditions was far greater
  • Census reveals that African Americans are still illegally living in the state

    Census reveals that African Americans are still illegally living in the state
    The Federal Census of 1860, taken several months after the new law became operative, disclosed that 144 free blacks still lived in Arkansas.
  • Period: to

    Some black men are able to achieve economic and social mobility

    This was particularly true in the state’s rapidly developing cities and towns, especially in Little Rock, where the population increased from 3,727 in 1860 to 38,307 in 1900
  • Period: to

    Lynchings against African Americans become prevalent

    Incidents of lynching, an extra-legal form of group violence, were prevalent in this era; one scholar estimated that, during its peak in the state (roughly the 1860s to the 1930s), at least 318 documented lynchings occurred, 231 victims of which were black.
  • General Albert Pike, and Native Americans during the Civil War

    General Albert Pike, and Native Americans during the Civil War
    To solidify relations with the Indians, President Jefferson Davis appointed General Albert Pike to serve as commissioner to the Indian Territory tribes. Pike succeeded in organizing a Confederate Indian army consisting of Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee, and Seminole, whose own slave-owning history aligned them with the South. Under the command of Cherokee general Stand Watie, Indian troops played an important role in disrupting Union movements along the Arkansas River
  • Period: to

    The Civil War

  • General Assembly suspends law making it illegal for African Americans to live in the state

    General Assembly suspends law making it illegal for African Americans to live in the state
    The Federal Census of 1860, taken several months after the new law became operative, disclosed that 144 free blacks still lived in Arkansas. Perhaps conceding the law’s harshness, the General Assembly adopted a measure suspending its further operation until January 1, 1863. As events would have it, this was the very day on which another measure would take effect—President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
  • President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation

    President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation
  • Little Rock Convention of Colored Citizens

    Little Rock Convention of Colored Citizens
  • Period: to

    "Black Code" adopted

    The new “rebel” legislature of 1866–1867 adamantly refused to ratify the proposed Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Moreover, the legislature proceeded to adopt a new “Black Code” that contravened the notion of equal protection.
  • Black men serve in the Arkansas General Assembly

    Black men serve in the Arkansas General Assembly
    At the height of Reconstruction in 1873, twenty black men were serving in the Arkansas General Assembly, and numerous black county and local officials served in the black-majority counties of the east Arkansas Delta.
  • Period: to

    UAPB established and opened

    Branch Normal College in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), now UAPB, which was established in 1873 and opened in 1875. Following it, black religious groups created three other colleges in the following few years
  • Continuance of black suffrage, black office-holding, and the new black school system

    Continuance of black suffrage, black office-holding, and the new black school system
    When white conservatives convened a new state constitutional convention on July 14, 1874, to bring Reconstruction in Arkansas to an end, eight black delegates attended, and the final document included provisions that allowed for the continuance of black suffrage, black office-holding, and the new black school system.
  • Philander Smith College established

    Philander Smith College established
    Philander Smith College, established as Walden Seminary in Little Rock in 1877 for the training of black Methodist ministers
  • Arkansas Baptist College founded

    Arkansas Baptist College founded
    Arkansas Baptist College, founded as Minister’s Institute by the Colored Baptists of the State of Arkansas in 1884, also in Little Rock
  • Shorter College established

    Shorter College established
    Shorter College, originally Bethel University, established in Little Rock in 1886 by the African Methodist Episcopal Church but later moved to North Little Rock (Pulaski County). Within the Methodist and Baptist circles, African Americans often organized their own denominations separate from whites, and a few ministers in Arkansas rose to positions of prominence within their respective groups.
  • Elias Camp Morris elected president of the National Baptist Convention

    Elias Camp Morris elected president of the National Baptist Convention
  • Elaine Massacre

    Elaine Massacre
    A bloody upwelling of violence against black citizens occurred near the town of Elaine (Phillips County) after local black tenants and sharecroppers attempted to unionize. In the end, twelve black men were sentenced to death in show trials for what is now called the Elaine Massacre.
  • Lynching of John Carter

    Lynching of John Carter
    Perhaps Arkansas’s most notorious lynching is that of John Carter. In April 1927, Little Rock witnessed mob violence against African Americans following the murder of a twelve-year-old white girl. The alleged murderer was taken out of the city to avoid the growing mob of angry whites in the capital.
  • Dr. John Marshall Robinson founds the Arkansas Negro Democratic Association

    Dr. John Marshall Robinson founds the Arkansas Negro Democratic Association
    Dr. John Marshall Robinson, a black physician in Little Rock, founded the Arkansas Negro Democratic Association to combat the 1906 “white primary” rule that barred black voters from participating in the state’s Democratic primaries, which had become the state’s only meaningful elections.
  • Indian Reorganization Act

    Indian Reorganization Act
    In 1934, the United States government reversed its assimilation policy by passing the Indian Reorganization Act, which restored native rights and promoted Indian self-determination.
  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas

    Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas
    U.S. Supreme Court, in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, abandoned its previously enunciated “separate but equal” doctrine, declaring racially segregated public schools to be in violation of the “equal protection” clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
  • Arkansas voters approve measures against integration

    Arkansas voters approve measures against integration
    A majority of Arkansas voters approved a proposed “interposition” amendment and a pupil assignment measure, both directed against integration in the 1956 election
  • 4 new segregation laws enacted

    4 new segregation laws enacted
    Enacted by the Arkansas General Assembly in early 1957
  • Central High Crisis/ Little Rock Nine

    Central High Crisis/ Little Rock Nine
    Governor Orval Faubus mobilized the Arkansas National Guard in an effort to prevent nine African American students from integrating the high school.
  • Period: to

    The Lost Year: Central High School closed for the year

  • Crowley’s Ridge burial mounds excavated

    A group of five burial mounds located at the southern end of Crowley’s Ridge in Helena dating between 100 BC to AD 100 are excavated
  • "I Have A Dream" speech

    "I Have A Dream" speech
    Martin Luther King Jr. led the March on Washington, where he delivered his “I Have a Dream” address
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964

    Civil Rights Act of 1964
    Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and old segregated arrangements began to disappear
  • American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978

    American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978
    produced a resurgence of cultural activities in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries—many with roots extending far back into the past. Especially important are modern stories, songs, dances, ceremonies, and religious observations that celebrate origins, historical events, and time-honored values and principles.
  • Passage of NAGPRA

    Passage of the Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) in 1990 provided mechanisms for Indian tribes to reclaim artifacts and skeletal remains housed in museums and other federally funded institutions. Several museums have repatriated ancestral skeletal remains and funerary items to Arkansas tribes, some of which have been reburied in protected cemeteries located in Arkansas.
  • Designation of the Menard-Hodges Site

    Designation of the Menard-Hodges Site
    In 1991, the Quapaw gathered in Arkansas to celebrate the designation of the Menard-Hodges Site as a National Historic Landmark—archaeologists believe this is the Quapaw village of Osotuoy near which Henri de Tonti established the first Arkansas Post in 1686.
  • The Arkansas Black Hall of Fame founded

    The Arkansas Black Hall of Fame was founded in 1992 as a means of recognizing the best and brightest African Americans with Arkansas roots
  • Executive Order 13007 "Accommodation of Sacred Sites"

    Executive Order 13007 "Accommodation of Sacred Sites"
    Other archaeological properties in Arkansas have been designated as sacred sites under President Clinton’s 1996 Executive Order 13007 (“Accommodation of Sacred Sites”). Through these activities, modern Caddo, Cherokee, Osage, Quapaw, and Tunica are beginning to reclaim their ancestral ties to Arkansas.
  • The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center (MTCC) opens

    The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center (MTCC) opens
    The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center (MTCC) opened on September 20, 2008, as the first publicly funded museum of African-American history and culture in Arkansas